Abdullah al-Muhajir, aka Jose Padilla, Trial Update. The defense is making as much as they can out of the meaning of jihad, trying to convince jurors that when al-Muhajir and the others spoke of jihad, they meant an interior spiritual struggle, or at most a struggle they hope to portray as a legitimate self-determination for Chechnya, Bosnia, etc. But of course this strategy founders when bin Laden starts coming up in the conversations.
“Padilla jury hears Osama’s name in call,” by Matt Sedensky for Associated Press (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
Jurors in Jose Padilla’s trial heard intercepted phone calls Thursday in which Osama bin Laden is mentioned, as prosecutors tried to cement a link between the al-Qaida leader and the accused terrorist operative.
In a call on Sept. 3, 2000, co-defendant Adham Amin Hassoun asks Mohamed Hesham Youssef the whereabouts of Padilla, whom he identifies by an alias, Ibrahim.
“Ibrahim is a little farther south,” Youssef tells Hassoun, according to an FBI translation from Arabic. “He is supposed to be at Osama’s and then he might be able to go from Osama’s … to go a little farther north.”…
Less than six weeks after the call, Hassoun reaches two unidentified men prosecutors say were staying at a guest house in the Republic of Georgia, where mujahadeen are suspected of waiting to enter Chechnya and engage in violent jihad….
Prosecutors say Padilla filled out a form to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan that purportedly produced hundreds of potential terrorist operatives. Defense attorneys say the presence of Padilla’s fingerprints only on the outside of the first and last pages suggests he was simply handed the form.
The defense unsuccessfully sought to prevent jurors from hearing conversations about bin Laden and other well-known Islamic extremist leaders, claiming it would make Padilla, Hassoun and the third defendant, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, appear more guilty….
Kavanaugh has offered definitions for words used on the wiretaps: tourism meant jihad, clubs indicated mujahadeen units, sports equipment was weaponry, and so on. But Swartz noted the agent does not speak Arabic and badgered him on the definitions he offered.
“I could tell you what it looks like to me,” Kavanaugh said, “but I can’t tell you what was in his head.”
Padilla, 36, a former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, has been in federal custody since his May 2002 arrest at O’Hare International Airport. He was held for 3 1/2 years at a Navy brig as an enemy combatant.
He was initially accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” inside the United States, but those allegations are not part of the Miami case.